Saturday, May 30, 2009

Affordable SEO certification

I have been looking for sites that offer some form of certification for those intending to work as search engine optimizers. There are a few around, and they look very good. However, most cost several hundred dollars US at the very least. There are two that are much more affordable, however, and they can be found at Expert Rating, and SEO Certification.

I know a lot of the more experienced webmasters and bloggers would look down on these qualifications as meaningless. It's easy to read a few lessons, then regurgitate them in an online test, after all. The real test of someone's knowledge and skill comes when they have to get a site to the top of the SERPs. And only a lot of experience promoting websites and blogs will prepare someone for that.

That said, I believe that qualifications can't do any harm. It's always good to have gone through some sort of structured course, however basic and brief. And having such qualifications definitely inspires confidence in prospective customers.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Benefits of guest blogging

One of the better ways to promote a blog or website is to write guest posts for other blogs. It's a bit like article marketing. However, I think it could be more effective.

Firstly, if you write for a high page rank blog, you'll receive a lot of link juice from your link back. And if it's a high traffic blog as well you'll get many clicks directly, and very soon. (Articles confer both benefits, of course. However your article is buried amongst thousands of others, so obviously the link juice is a lot less concentrated, even for a very well regarded directory like Ezine Articles. Similarly, clicks to your bio-box link are less frequent since there are so many other articles you're competing with.)

With this in mind I've been looking for blogs that want guest posts. Just found this list, which other bloggers might find quite useful.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Two more free "drag and drop" website builders

A few months ago I posted about three easy-to-use free web hosts that use "drag and drop" website building tools. I believe that Weebly, Webnode and Yola (formerly Synthasite) are fantastically liberating, since they enable you to build impressive looking websites quickly without any technical knowledge. While they won't put professional web designers out of business, they must be causing them a bit of consternation.

I don't think this is entirely a bad thing, since there are many web designers who take advantage of people's lack of knowledge for financial gain. Some of them charge huge money to build pages that aren't that great. And since websites inevitably grow and evolve over time (particularly business-related ones) they often receive ongoing payments for simple site tweaking and editing. Personally, I don't think this is fair.

Simple "drag and drop" tools make the whole site building process available to anyone, and are therefore hugely empowering. A business person, say, who wants to build a site now has complete control of the whole process - as well as it being far less expensive.

No wonder the above mentioned sites are so popular. And there are others that have similar functionality. Two I found recently are 350 Pages and Spruz.

I'm sure others will pop up up before too long. I'll post links to them when they do.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Best article directories

There are thousands of article directories out there. The problem is, which ones do you submit your articles to?

High page rank is a very important factor. While it's not the be all and end all, it certainly means that Google thinks the site is an authoritative one. A bio-box backlink from one of these sites will definitely help quite a bit. That's why I always try to submit to a high page rank article directory first before submitting it to others. Google will most likely index it there first which will mean more link juice. (That is, if you submit to a lower page rank directory, then a high page rank one later, chances are it will index the lower page rank one first, meaning that your backlink will have a bit less value.)

Three of my favourite article directories are Ezine Articles, Article Dashboard and Go Articles. They all have high page rank and heaps of traffic.

Go Articles is the most straightforward. Your article goes live straight away. Article Dashboard usually takes several days before approval. At first, Ezine Articles takes ages. However, once you've had ten articles accepted, things speed up considerably.

From what I can tell so far, Ezine Articles delivers the best SEO benefits. So I suggest that writers submit their article there first, wait for it to be approved, then give it a few days before using the other directories.

Artcles Base is another good article directory. However, the downside is that the bio-box links are nofollow.

There are many, many others worth submitting to, of course. Here are two good lists which include both page rank and Alexa rating.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Too many dofollow blog lists!

Just another thought on dofollow: There's still a real buzz about it. And there are a lot of lists being posted on various blogs and forums. There are also quite a few people selling large lists of them!

People are clearly hungry for this information. But it's very easy to bite off more than you can chew.

I mean, if you buy a list of thousands of dofollow blogs, this may make you feel like you've done something really useful. But how many of those will you ever even look at, let alone comment on?

Of course you should keep an eye out for these blogs. But the main thing is to just look for informative blogs in your niche. Then the commenting will flow naturally, and you'll do more of it. Dofollow links will come as a result, either directly or indirectly.

Another good backlink checker

I just found another good free link analysis tool. It gives you lots of information, including the page rank of sites linking to you, and the anchor text in the links.

Definitely useful.